September 18th 2013

Just tried to log in to check the latest bills


How can any use trust anything the Vodafone online system says - especially billing?


September 4th 2013

At 09:42 I received a call on the mobile from an Indian gentleman to discuss my complaint to :

Whether or not Guy Laurence really does read any of it i somehow doubt. I suspect every message is fired straight to its Indian call centre for "action".

Nevertheless we had a lovely conversation wherein I agreed I had been refunded the money incorrectly billed, but realised I would be wasting my time discussing the deeper issues around the fact that Vodafone billing platform is fundamentally broken and therefore untrustworthy. I was hoping to debate the issues with Guy, since this goes to the heart of the matter that every "off plan" charge ever made by Vodafone is at least equally as dubious as any dispute around PPI insurance.

Not surprisingly, he chose not to engage with me on the matter.

At 11:20 I received another call from 08080-000133 which was an extremely Indian accented gentleman who took me through the customer ID procedures. His accent was sufficiently impenetrable that I was not sure at first if it was for real because I get loads of pester calls from Indian call centres every day. But is was a case of the Vodafone system yet again not knowing what it was doing, and I told him a colleague had already dealt with the matter.

Vodafone makes money by using cheap labour. Invest some of that £84bn in better systems and UK call centres, eh?

9am Sep 1st - Human contact made, the results of which seem to suggest rather worryingly that Vodafone cannot warrant the accuracy of its billing system. I have left this all to sweat for a month to see what else happens - and nothing much has. I have put a data limiting and monitoring app on the phone which shows the marginal data consumption I would expect.

This is actually now very serious: all evidence shows that the Vodafone billing platform cannot be trusted. Just how many spurious charges has it made? They simply do not seem to keep detailed records!

Vodafone seem to have agreed that they billing system is perfectly capable of going rogue and issuing charges which they have no means of supporting with actual billing data.  The implications of this are considerable, and maybe Vodafone had better not spend all its £84 bn windfall just yet, since it seems possible that they should refund all arbitrary charges of customer accounts.

It is worrying that a company like Vodafone has 21m customers and is allowed to get away with shafting its UK customers as obviously at it does. Just chisel £1 a month extra from each one via DD on a charging scheme that is so obtuse that even Vodafone cannot explain it, is worth the risk to the managers who get the incentives. £240m PA for absolutely nothing, is very tempting.

From: Vodafone Customer Services []
Sent: 02 August 2013 08:52r> To:
Subject: RE: EFT195 [#11727667]

Hi W,

Thanks for coming back to us.

For this month I'll add an extra £10 credit which is for the cost of the 2GB bundle.

The Sure Signal doesn't use your mobile data so it's unlikely this has anything to do with it. Otherwise I think it's something that would be happening more often and not just for one day.

I completely appreciate the frustration with the issues you've experienced online. It's something that is currently undergoing a complete overhaul so although it's not going to be perfect overnight, it will be much better once the work is complete.

I'm not sure about 'secret shopper' but the front line agents do have coaching every month where their calls are listened to. You can always come directly to this team for any queries though and we'll be happy to help.

Web Relations Team

NB:  Though a Sure Signal itself does not use  your mobile data for it to run, your mobile data will be used for browsing internet when you use your phone to access internet whilst you're connected through a Sure Signal box. This data is only used by your phone though and not by the Sure Signal.

Sent: 01 August 2013 12:19
Subject: RE: EFT195 [#11727667


Thanks – I apologise for the email address, but we like to keep track of any address we give out on web forms, and memorable is simplest.

The “out of plan” £5 charge is one thing, but then I also added a further 2Gbyte top up yesterday when I could not get any sense from one of my several 191 encounters,  in case I was about trigger further charges for similar reasons unknown. I can’t remember if it was £6 or £8 – it does not appear on the online account or the unbilled items listings.

I also think that all items routed through he suresignal should also be identified in the billing process – your system certainly collects that data as a matter of course. It may be a rogue element in the suresignal “eating” the mystery data – it’s about the only device in the equation with the potential to dump that sort of data in that amount of time.

On the matter of general frustration dealing with your labyrinthine support schemes, do you call your own support system from time to time as a “secret shopper”? It can be hard to convey the depth of frustration we see shown on the forums (of just about every call-centric business these days) unless you have felt the same pain. Your entire board should be forced to question a bill at least once a week and see how they enjoy it!

My listing of experiences with Vodafone shows clearly that the automated and online systems do not perform as expected


From: Vodafone Customer Services []
Sent: 01 August 2013 10:45
To: vodafonesucks@sdmin
Subject:: EFT195 [#11727667]

Hi William,

Thanks for your time on the phone earlier.

My colleague has looked through your data usage and for some reason there isn't any data usage showing for the 28th July. We can see data used before and after this date so we're not sure of what has happened as we've never seen this before. 

A £5 charge was triggered for going over your data which I've credited to your account. This will go against your next bill.

Web Relations Team

You Could Not Make this next one up!

16:00 July 31st: I got a tweet response from the Vodafone PR person on duty - and this was the resulting interaction (so far)

and this is what I got the second time I filled in the blasted "email" form:

I think I may be about to resort to profane language. You may need to cover the eyes of those of an easily distressed or  nervous disposition.

I tried the form again and got through!

But no reference number? That turned up in email a moment later.

Stay tuned!

More on rogue data

I called again (31 July) and after about 15 minutes waiting, eventually spoke to a cheery but generally useless agent who just about spoke English and told him I had been sent a text that I should "call 191". I waited for a response.

I pointed out that the instruction did nothing more than say "call 191" - it gave no hint of the labyrinthine call routing scheme lurking at 191, waiting to send me to the deepest reaches of Vodafone Hell. I guessed I needed to press  #1#5 to get to billing queries.

More time wasted as he asked me who I was once more, although the system clearly already knew, and I had supplied my PIN to prove it at the start of the "journey".  I realised I was getting nowhere, and so I gave in and paid £6 for and 2GByte "extra". He sent a text "confirmation" that did not include the extra amount I had agreed to pay. Or if this was a one off payment or now part of the regular monthly ransom...

(And please stop saying "Thanks for calling Vodafone" we both know I am only calling because you are messing with my life in some way or other, and I really don't need to exchange pleasantries - just get it sorted and escape as fast as possible)

I asked when the online service would show all this - I was told "immediately" - so no surprise when 4 hours later:-

BUT I see there is now 1817MB of data left, and I am still paying £10.25 a month. Which is nice. However, Vodafone cock-ups do not generally work in my favour so I expect that this will be sorted in due course. I asked to be put through to the tech team... which happened amazingly quickly.

So as usual, it's heads Vodafone wins, tails and the customer loses..

Rogue data consumption

Other recent hassle (July 30th) concerns a sudden and unexplained spike in data consumption. C

I downloaded the unbilled details and found::

Sun Jul 28 06:09 Mobile Browsing WAP                                   198,863.15
Sun Jul 28 06:04 Mobile Browsing WAP                                   204,683.23

.. which implies that in 5 minutes at a time when I was fast asleep I downloaded 198MByte of Data? I don't think so! I have never seen the HTC connect at 660kBytes/second . So what was going on?

I called to question this usage and discover where the data had been going - and Vodafone tell me they don't know. I ask for proof this is not their unreliable systems making it up again; they refused, claiming they had no record of the IP addresses involved. Maybe I should call Prism in the US and ask them?  I merely got this barely comprehensible billing note sent as a text message - which is wonderfully obtuse:--

Note the effort to get customers to download more stuff to help Vodafone unload its support responsibility onto its users. Just as Ryanair has refined the notion of "self loading freight" to a cynical art-form, so Vodafone strives towards the day when they need employ no humans at all to do anything but chase unpaid accounts - although with most contracts now based on prepay or direct debit, that's not a big job anyway.

I am not the only one suspicious of Vodafone's inability to prove how it conjures up its data billing, as theirr forum user ratmanhk reminds us..

I tried calling again at 21:25 to follow up the matter, and was told everyone had gone home (some global operation - especially since most support seems to be based anywhere but the UK anyway) - I was told I could contact them using Live Chat 24 hours a day:

Well of course, what else did I expect? Evening time is when most of your users are able to try and follow up the hassle they get from dealing with you

June 20th: No viable calls in Majorca; and no help from Vodafone supportt.

Other recent stupidity -when on holiday in Majorca, two phones on this account simply did not work. The Vodafone twitter "support" is just another bit of PR fluff to convey the impression that they (a) care (b) can fix anything. Vodafone is completely incapable of "managing exceptions" and only ever talks in generalities, relying on telling awkward punters (like me) to go and waste time on forum sites in the knowledge that most will get bored and give up.

What is the point in telling someone complaining that the phone does not work in Majorca to get in touch when they get home?  

(some details have been deleted for privacy)

From: []
Sent: 13 June 2013 18:11
Subject: Re: FW: Please verify the location of your Vodafone Sure Signal [#11567160]

 Hello Mr. P,

Thanks for your email.

So that we can verify your Vodafone account and help further please get back to us with the date of birth as registered on the account.

Once we've verified the details we'll look to resolve your query as soon as possible.

Awaiting your reply.

Kind regards,

Sudeep Ghosh
Vodafone Customer Services

From: William
Sent: 13 June 2013 19:18
To: ''
Subject: RE: FW: Please verify the location of your Vodafone Sure Signal [#11567160]


Sorry, I no longer provide DoB details in email – this information is used in too many instances of fraud.

You have plenty of information that proves I am the account holder of  07968 8XXXX2


 Here's the story so far in chronological sequence:--

From: []
Sent: 05 April 2013 01:39
To: william
Subject: Please verify the location of your Vodafone Sure Signal



Please verify the location of your Vodafone Sure Signal

Could the emergency services find you in the event of an emergency call?
Is your Vodafone Sure Signal registered to the correct address?

It appears that your Vodafone Sure Signal may have moved from the original address it was registered to, which is why you are receiving this message.

If your Vodafone Sure Signal has recently been moved, please remember that it is important that you update the address where it is being used with Vodafone. This is in order that the emergency services are able to locate you should you make a 999 call.

How to change the address

The address can be changed or confirmed as follows:

1. Log into your My Account page
2. Click on ‘Manage Sure Signal’
3. Click on ‘Change postcode’ and enter the new postcode where the device is being used, or if it has not been moved simply re-enter the existing postcode
4. Click on ‘Check postcode’ and verify the address listed
5. Click on ‘Confirm’
6. Select which floor you will be using it on and ‘Confirm’
7. Click on ‘Confirm’ to update the address

False alert

If you feel you are receiving this message in error, your device has not been moved and is registered to the address you are currently using it at, please accept our apologies.

A false alert can happen for a number of reasons:

- You may have a new broadband router
- You may have changed broadband provider
- Your broadband provider may have changed their IP address

How to stop receiving text alerts

In order to stop receiving text alerts please reconfirm the postcode by following the steps outlined above. If you continue to receive them after you have done this please contact customer support on 191.


Thanks again for being with Vodafone.

Team Vodafone


Privacy policy

Terms ; Conditions



; 2010 Vodafone Ltd. Registered address: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN. Registered in England No. 1471587.

From: William
Sent: 10 June 2013 17:27
To: ''
Cc: ''
Subject: RE: Please verify the location of your Vodafone Sure Signal

Hey there – the box location has not changed.

But I went to the account to see if there were any relevant messages and…

My neighbour is in the same postcode:

Because Vodafone coverage is so bad in this part of the country I would expect many people in the same postcode will want SureSignal devices

I then went to Manage the Sure Signal  SSHOUSE and was told

I hit check postcode

I pressed CONFIRM

YES I know I do. That is the Suresignal device I am managing.

But just for a quiet life I changed the name:

There is no hint that I have used too many characters or illegal characters – but it accepted SSHOUSEHH

And finally…


So I cancelled back to…


So at least the name change was accepted…


It currently all seems to be working – so please do not break anything – BUT I seem to do a lot of beta testing of the Website for Vodafone over the many years I have been a punter of yours,  and reckon I have earned a free Samsung S4 on my existing account – ie no new  24 month contract… don’t you?



From: William
Sent: 11 June 2013 14:45
To: ''
Cc: ''
Subject: RE: Please verify the location of your Vodafone Sure Signal

Once again your website is driving me nuts, and offering flatly contradictory advice:-


And showing more signs of abject incompetent programming…



Surely to God it’s time you employed some sentient beings as programmers?




And just now, these text messages...



 Hilariously, I just got this after posting on the Vodafone forum site:

I have been an occasional victim of Vodafone's inability to manage a web site for several years now. The people on the end of the phone are polite and helpful enough within their limited range of options, but they are trying cope with the towering incompetence of management that allows a demonstrably dysfunctional web site to waste everyone's time.

I have listed my present round of contradictory experiences with the Suresignal at which sets out the latest evidence that whoever manages Vodafone's web presence needs to be replaced to save users and support people from high blood pressure, and an early grave.

Vodafone - you are never going to sort this out by patching the present shambles. Start again and hire a team of web and database architects and developers who know what they are doing. You may have to pay more for good old-fashioned British talent - but the cost savings in the long run will be huge. And you will be able to avoid paying even more UK tax.


Congratulations! You have a new rank in Vodafone eForum

Sent: ‎12-06-2013 06:05 PM
Congratulations, uspnet!

As the result of your contributions to the community, you have earned a new rank. Your new rank is Occasional Poster.

We appreciate your efforts and hope you will continue to be an active member of the community.


The Vodafone eForum Team

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